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What You Need to Know About Book Thieves

The following was written by Lara Rhyner, Associate Director of Education at Geva Theatre Center and member of Writers & Books’ Book Thieves.

Hey there W&B blog readers!

My name is Lara Rhyner and I’m a proud member of the Book Thieves – Writers & Books’ awesome, casual, funny, smart, food, drink, and book loving, coed, young professionals’ book club. Have I convinced you to join us yet? I mean, we’re a pretty cool bunch of individuals, if I do say so myself. I spend my days connecting and collaborating as the Associate Director of Education at Geva Theatre Center (which I love!). Evenings and weekends are often spent cozying up to a good book, plotting what kind of food to bring to book club, and serving on W&B’s Gala planning committee (set for June of 2016), which you should definitely attend, because, A. supporting your beloved and dedicated local non-profits is vitally important because they do so, so much for the quality of life in our community, and B. it is going to be a blissfully wonderful affair that I’m already really stinking excited about attending!

One of the questions I am asked most frequently when people learn that I’m in a book club is, “How do you pick your books? Are they assigned by someone?” Every book club is different, and each likely has their own approach to selecting a season full of worthy reads, but I think our process is equitable and suits our style quite nicely. Every year, on the first Thursday in October, we are all invited to bring food and wine (this is a very important step) and a list of books we’d like to nominate for the following year. This month, 10 of our Thieves were available to gather and hash through the nominations. Like I said, we’re a laid back group, so our selection session, much like our meetings, was beautifully fun and not too structured. Someone would call out a title they were passionate about, share a short synopsis, we’d turn to Goodreads if we were interested in how many pages it was or the star-rating, and, if a majority of people were excited by the book, it was added to a list. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We do try to work in a classic every year, and this year we also wanted to broaden our horizons to include more genres other than just novels – so we suggested some plays, graphic novels, and memoirs too. About an hour and a half later we had a list of 12-15 books to whittle down to 8 coveted slots. From there we agreed upon the handful of books that were all definite yes-es, and put the rest to a simple majority vote. When we had our season selected, we giddily rejoiced over our fantastic selections and congratulated ourselves for picking a real winner of a season!

If you’d like to join us, our remaining 2015 books, and 2016 book club selections and meeting dates are:



November 5 – The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein

December 3 – holiday party at W&B



January – off

February 4 – All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr

March 3 – Queen of the Fall, by Sonja Livingston (the 2016 “If All of Rochester Reads the Same Book…” book)

April – off

May 5 – NW, by Zadie Smith

June 2 – two plays by August Wilson – Fences, and The Piano Lesson

July – off

August 4 – Church of Marvels, by Leslie Parry

September 1 – Cannery Row, by John Steinbeck

October 6 – book picking for 2017

November 3 – A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki

December 1 – Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi


We hope to see all you young professionals there!


Contact Tate DeCaro at or Chris Fanning at for more information about the Book Thieves.

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Chris Fanning & the Season of the Witch

The following was written by Chris Fanning, public relations associate at Writers & Books.

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. When I was five years old, one of my favorite books to take out of the library was A Woggle of Witches by Adrienne Adams. The Geneva Public Library had two copies in their circulation and during one visit, I had a small meltdown because I believed that I needed both copies to come home with me. This resulted in a lot of tears over not understanding that there could be someone else out there that might want to read Woggle of Witches.

But I digress…

There is something special about this time of year. The colors, the change in temperature, the change in wardrobe; it all creeps up on us so fast. We go from wearing shorts at concerts in the summer sun to putting on pants and jackets to walk down the street for indoor get togethers.   For me, there is also a certain spark in the air in October.

The origin of Halloween goes back centuries when the Druids believed that during this time of the year, the veil between our world and the spirit world grew thin, making it possible for spirits to cross back and forth between places. There is a part of me that holds on to that idea. I mean, I’m not going out and laying gifts and food in graveyards so that the ghosts will leave me alone, but I certainly feel that the impossible is slightly more possible this time of year. Maybe it’s a side effect of the Fringe Festival.

After a year off, Writers & Books is once again holding a Halloween Party. The title is one that I have played around with for years and it tickles me that we went with it as our theme this year: Spiders & Crooks. It’ll be on Saturday October 24th from 7:00 – 10:00 PM. Writers & Books operates in the old Third Police Precinct. The building, built by Claude Bragdon sometime back in the very early 1900’s, is the perfect setting for a Halloween Party.

We’re going to turn the back atrium into a jail, have a tarot card reader on the second floor, and at 8:00 PM G.E. Schwartz is doing this crazy cool soundscape/flash fiction/theatrical performance of “Nosferatu Bemshi”. He and his partner performed the same show at Writers & Books several years ago as part of the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival and I have always wanted to bring it back for Halloween.

There’s a ton of other stuff we’re going to have going on that night and the staff and volunteers will have spent the entire day decorating the building. It’s going to be rad. I may even bring my copy of A Woggle of Witches to have in the lounge for you to look through. Just know that if I do, you can’t have it. That book and I have a lot of history together.

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Spiders & Crooks Halloween Party – October 24th

Old Police Precinct Resurrected at Spiders & Crooks Halloween Party

 Rochester NY: This October, Writers & Books will transform back into the old police precinct it once was for one night of spirits and spectacles. On Saturday, October 24th, Writers & Books will host Spiders & Crooks, a Halloween party, from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Entertainment for the evening will include tarot card readings, a mugshot photo booth, themed food and drink, raffles with prizes from local cultural organizations, a costume contest, scary story readings, games and more.



At 8:00 PM G.E. Schwartz will preform his theatrical performance of Nosferatu Bemshi, a combination of the silent 1922 F.W. Murnau film, NOSFERATU, with a soundscape, poetry and flash fiction to open up a new art form: Neo Bemshi. City Newspaper has called it ‘Eerie, dark, macabre, and powerful”


The building will be decorated with an arachnid theme, but will also contain a pop up jail cell in our back atrium with a mugshot photo booth. Attendees will be able to take their mugshot holding a Rochester NY plaque and then pick up the print at the end of the night to take home. The jail will also have history about the building when it was the Third Police Precinct as well as pictures and bios on officers that worked there.

unnamedCostume Contest winners will receive “mugshot mugs” and ornaments courtesy of Cat Clay Studio in the Hungerford building.

Poster design is by Joy Argento. Joy will also have a table at Spiders & Crooks selling her latest novel.

For more information, contact Chris Fanning at or call 585.473.2590 ext 105. To purchase tickets, click here.


Social Media: @WritersandBooks #SpidersandCrooks





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Ten Spooky Stories to Enjoy in October

It’s about that time! October is in full swing, which means the temperature is plummeting, the sun is setting sooner, and Halloween is just around the corner. Whether you’re a fall fanatic or someone who is reluctant put the flip flops into storage, this season is a perfect excuse to curl up on the couch with pumpkin flavored goodies and a spooky story.

Here’s a list of ten tales ranging from silly to spine-chilling that are guaranteed to put you in the Halloween spirit!

#1. Skeleton for Dinner by Margery Cuyler

skeleton for dinner

This story about a skeleton who mistakes a dinner guest list for a dinner menu has just the right amount of goofiness and spookiness for young readers!

#2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz

charlie brown

Join Charlie Brown and friends in the wait for the Great Pumpkin! This tale is timeless and can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Follow up with the movie too!

#3. Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe


Bunnicula was one of my Halloween favorites as a child. In this story, the Monroe family adopts a new pet rabbit who exhibits vampire-like behavior such as sucking all the juices out of his vegetables! Harold the dog and Chester the cat take it upon themselves to protect the Monroes from this vampire bunny. This book is the first in a series of seven, so you can enjoy Bunnicula throughout the month of October!

#4. Tales for the Midnight Hour by J. B. Stamper


Tales for the Midnight Hour is great for kids (and adults) who enjoy listening to spine-chilling campfire stories. This book contains 17 terrifying short stories, each darker and scarier than the one before! Read at your own risk; they are sure to keep you up at night!

#5. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving


Everyone knows the legendary tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, but Halloween is a great time to refresh your memory by picking up this creepy classic and taking a trip to Tarrytown!

#6. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling


Harry Potter is great to read anytime, but I especially enjoy the second book in the series this time of year. Sir Nicholas’ 500th Deathday party, the petrified students, the ominous basilisk, and the Chamber of Secrets all contribute to a spooky story about witches and wizards that is perfectly appropriate for Halloween-time.

#7. Dracula by Bram Stoker


Vampires are a staple of Halloween, and Bram Stoker was the one who shaped their modern form! Although vampires appeared in literature in previous years, many of our modern-day notions about vampires stem from this 1897 novel.

#8. The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe


This story about a screeching black cat has to be one of Poe’s most gruesome tales! Many of his stories are dark and sinister, but I like to read this one in the month of October because black cats are so symbolic of Halloween.

#9. The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King


Stephen King has written a plethora of fiction that is perfect for the month of October, but The Eyes of the Dragon stands apart from the rest. This book deviates from his typical horror genre and will take you to the front lines of a battle between good and evil where fantasy and magic are very present.

#10. Macbeth by William Shakespeare


If you enjoy classical literature, Macbeth is a great play to read this October. The three witches and the gruesome murders that occur throughout the play will definitely get you in the spirit of Halloween!

So lock your doors, dim your lights, and curl up on the couch with one of these spooky stories! Have a fun and safe Halloween, and let us know what you’re reading!